GPL Dispute in Austrian health card system resolved

BERLIN, Germany - Feb. 10, 2006 -- The project has uncovered and resolved violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in the Austrian electronic health card (e-card) system

Specifically, those license violations originate by SV-Chipkarten Betriebs- und Errichtungs GmbH, the company in charge of setting up the Austrian electronic health card system.

According to, SVC B.u.E. GmbH used GPL licensed software, including Linux, in the Software running on the "GINA" (Gesundsheits Informations Netzwerk Adapter). "GINA" is installed at every doctor's clinic and acts as a gateway between the Health Information Network and the clinic.

"While there is nothing wrong with using GPL licensed software in commercial products, it is only permitted under certain obligations, such as passing on the license agreement, and making available the full corresponding source code", says Mr. Harald Welte, Linux kernel developer and founder of the project.

The project continues to uncover similar GPL violations in all kinds of embedded products, including media players, console servers, TV set-top boxes, cellular telephones and networking gear.

Mr Welte continues:

"The Free Software community is very happy to see more and more vendors to use Linux and other Free Software on their devices. However, Free Software is copyrighted material, much like any other software. Redistribution can only happen according to its license."

SVC B.u.E. GmbH now makes available the License Text and a written offer to the complete corresponding source code at

About the project

In the past 24 months, has helped uncover and negotiate more than 60 GPL violations and has obtained numerous out-of-court settlement agreements. The project is a not-for-profit effort to bring commercial users and vendors of Free Software into compliance with the license conditions as set forth by the original authors. The project was founded and is managed by Mr. Harald Welte, a Linux Kernel developer and Free Software enthusiast.